Bruce Hornsby


Bruce Hornsby

Infobox musical artist
Name = Bruce Hornsby


Img_capt = Hornsby performing July 14, 2006 in Portland, OR
Img_size =
Born = birth date and age|mf=yes|1954|11|23
Background = solo_singer
Origin = Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.
Instrument = piano, keyboards, accordion
Genre = Improvisational multi-genre
Jam band
Rock
Jazz
Bluegrass
Years_active = 1984 – present
Label = Columbia Records
SonyBMG/Legacy
Associated_acts = Hornsby & the Noise Makers
Hornsby (solo)
Skaggs & Hornsby
Bruce Hornsby Trio
Hornsby and the Range
Grateful Dead
The Other Ones
Bobby Hi-Test and the Octane Kids
(current acts in bold)
URL = http://www.brucehornsby.com
Notable_instruments = Piano (Steinway & Sons, formerly Baldwin Piano), [cite press release | title="Steinway & Sons Names Bruce Hornsby to International Artist Roster" | publisher=Steinway & Sons | date = 2004-01-21 | url= http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/20040121_steinway.swf | format=SWF | accessdate=2007-05-04| ] Synthesizer (Korg M1 and Oberheim OB-X), Accordion

Bruce Randall Hornsby (born November 23, 1954 in Williamsburg, Virginia) is an American singer, pianist, accordion player, and songwriter. Known for the spontaneity and creativity of his live performances, Hornsby draws frequently from classical, jazz, bluegrass, Folk, motown, rock, blues, and jam band musical traditions with his songwriting and the seamless improvisations contained within.

Hornsby's recordings have been recognized on a number of occasions with industry awards, including the Best New Artist Grammy in 1987 with Bruce Hornsby and the Range, the Best Bluegrass Recording Grammy in 1989, and the Best Pop Instrumental Grammy in 1993.

Hornsby has also achieved recognition for his solo albums and performances, his current live act Bruce Hornsby & the Noise Makers, his bluegrass project with Ricky Skaggs, his jazz act The Bruce Hornsby Trio, and his appearances as a session- and guest-musician. He also collaborated with the Grateful Dead.

Early years/background information

Hornsby grew up listening to all types of music.cite journal | last=Zollo | first=Paul | title=Bruce Hornsby: Straddling Worlds | journal=Performing Songwriter Magazine | issue=March/April 2001 | pages=28–33 | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/20010301_performing_songwriter_magazine_article.swf | format=SWF | accessdate = 2007-05-04] He studied music at the University of Richmond, as well as Berklee College of Music and the University of Miami, from which he graduated in 1977.cite web | title=Biography: Bruce Hornsby | publisher= brucehornsby.com | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/bio.htm | accessdate=2007-05-04] cite journal | last=Khandelwal | first=Michael Jon | title=Live from Williamsburg | journal=Hampton Roads Magazine | issue=March/April 2007 | pages=86–91 | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/20070301HRM.swf | format=SWF]

In the spring of 1974, Hornsby's brother Bobby, who attended the University of Virginia, formed a band, "Bobby Hi-Test and the Octane Kids" to play fraternity parties, featuring Bruce on Fender Rhodes and vocals.cite web | title=Bobby High Test and the Octane Kids | url= http://www.realhornsby.com/octanekids.htm | accessdate = 2007-05-04] The band, which is listed in "Skeleton Key: A Dictionary for Deadheads", performed covers of Allman Brothers Band, The Band, and predominantly Grateful Dead songs. Although Hornsby's collaboration with Bobby Hornsby would be relatively short-lived, at present, his brother Bobby's son, R. S., is a recurring guest-guitarist with Hornsby's band and periodically tours with his uncle.

Following his graduation from the University of Miami, in 1977, he and his brother (and songwriting partner) John Hornsby moved to Los Angeles, where they spent three years writing for 20th Century Fox.cite web | last=Ruhlmann | first=William | title=Bruce Hornsby: Biography | publisher=All Media Guide, LLC | url= http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=11:difqxqe5ldae~T1 | accessdate = 2007-05-04] Hornsby also spent time in Los Angeles as a session musician and touring with Sheena Easton's band [cite web | last=Tortorici | first=Frank | title=Bruce Hornsby | publisher=MTV Networks | date=1998-11-23 | url= http://www.vh1.com/artists/news/504164/19981121/hornsby_bruce.jhtml | accessdate = 2007-05-04] before moving back to his native southeastern Virginia.

Hornsby currently uses a Steinway & Sons concert grand piano. He bought the piano in Zurich, Switzerland, while on a solo show tour in Europe in 1995. With the Range and up until 1995, he used a Baldwin concert grand piano. He currently uses a Korg M1 synthesizer. With the Range, Hornsby used an Oberheim OB-X synthesizer.

Outside the realm of music, Hornsby is a good basketball player and an avid fan of the sport.cite web | title=You Say It's Your Birthday: Bruce Hornsby | publisher=MTV Networks | date=1997-11-21 | url=http://www.vh1.com/artists/news/1955/19971121/hornsby_bruce.jhtml | accessdate =2007-05-04] As such, he can frequently be seen at college basketball games around the state of Virginia. He is also personal friends with Saint Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa, and attends games in Saint Louis whenever he can. Their friendship led to LaRussa introducing Hornsby to jazz bassist Christian McBride, which then led to the formation of The Bruce Hornsby Trio (along with drummer Jack DeJohnette) and their first album, "Camp Meeting".

Bruce Hornsby was raised a Christian Scientist and its influence can be seen in some of his songs [http://www.adherents.com/people/ph/Bruce_Hornsby.html] . However, he has rarely attended that church since high school, and his current beliefs are unclear and may have diverged from his Christian Science upbringing. [http://www.nndb.com/people/305/000073086/] . He has endorsed Barack Obama for President in the 2008 election. [http://www.newsmeat.com/celebrity_political_donations/Bruce_Hornsby.php]

Hornsby and his wife Kathy have sons named Russell and Keith. They were named after Leon Russell and Keith Jarrett.

Range years

In 1984 he formed Bruce Hornsby and the Range, who were signed to RCA Records in 1985. Besides Hornsby, Range members were David Mansfield (guitar, mandolin, violin), George Marinelli (guitars and backing vocals), Joe Puerta (bass guitar and backing vocals), and John Molo (drums).

Hornsby's recording career started with the biggest hit he has had to date, entitled "The Way It Is". It topped the American music charts in 1986.cite journal | last=Metzger | first=John | title=Against the Grain: An Interview with Bruce Hornsby | journal=The Music Box | volume=7 | issue=11 | month=November | year=2000 | url= http://www.musicbox-online.com/bh-int.html | accessdate=2007-05-04] With a propulsive yet contemplative piano riff and the refrain, "That's just the way it is, some things will never change, that's just the way it is, but don't you believe it", the song was catchy and described aspects of the American Civil Rights movement and institutional racism.cite web | title=Songfacts: "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby | url= http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=5494 | accessdate=2007-05-04] The song also hit a nerve with the American public, reflecting dissatisfaction with perceived economic decline in the early-to-mid 1980s. In years to come, the song would be sampled by at least six rap artists, including Tupac Shakur, E-40, and Mase. With the success of the single worldwide, the album "The Way It Is" went multi-platinum [cite web | title=Bruce Hornsby | publisher=JamBase | url=http://www.jambase.com/search.asp?bandID=1186&display=bio| accessdate = 2007-05-04] and produced another top five hit with "Mandolin Rain" (co-written, as many of Hornsby's early songs were, with his brother John Hornsby). "Every Little Kiss" also did respectably well. Other tracks on the album helped establish what some labeled the "Virginia sound", a mixture of rock, jazz, and bluegrass with an observational Southern feel.cite news | last=Burch | first=Cathalena E | title=Musician tells it 'the way it is' | work=Arizona Daily Star | date=2005-12-29 | url= http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/20051229_interview_ADS.swf | format=SWF | accessdate = 2007-05-04] Bruce Hornsby and the Range would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1987, beating out Glass Tiger, Nu Shooz, Simply Red and Timbuk3.

Hornsby and the Range's sound is somewhat distinctive. For one, Hornsby's consistent use of syncopation in his piano solos was different from other pianists during the 1980s. Hornsby used a brighter piano sound, which was typical for 1980's Pop Music. There is also extensive use of synthesizers used as background for Hornsby's solos, most notable on the tracks "The Show Goes On" and "The Road Not Taken". John Molo's drumbeats were often looped throughout the recorded versions of songs. They are typical double-time beats, which allowed Hornsby and the rest of the band to do more with their solos.

Hornsby and the Range's second album, "Scenes From The Southside" (on which Peter Harris replaced Mansfield) was released in 1988. It featured such hits as "Look Out Any Window" and "The Valley Road" which many critics noted due to their "more spacious" musical arrangements, allowing for "more expressive" piano solos from Hornsby.cite web | last=Iyengar | first=Vic | title=Scenes From the Southside: Overview | publisher=All Media Guide, LLC | url= http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:difqxq85ldae | accessdate=2007-05-04] The song "Jacob's Ladder" was featured as well, having originally been written by Hornsby for musician friend Huey Lewis; Lewis' version became a number one hit from his album "Fore!".cite web | title=Bruce Hornsby | publisher=DeadNet | month=May | year=1995 | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/19950501_dead_net.swf | format=SWF | accessdate=2007-05-04] "Scenes" was successful as an album, once again offering slices of "Americana" and "small-town nostalgia," but it would be the group's last album to perform so well in the singles market. In 1988, Hornsby first appeared on stage with the Grateful Dead, a recurring collaboration that would continue until the band's dissolution.cite web | last=Heisler | first=Brett I. | title=Grateful Family and Friend: Bruce Hornsby | publisher=philzone.com | date=2000-10-09 | url=http://www.philzone.com/interviews/hornsby/ | accessdate=2007-05-04] Hornsby went on to appear on stage frequently as a guest before becoming a regular fixture in the touring lineup for the Dead a few years later. During the late 1980s and early 1990s Hornsby worked extensively as a producer and sideman, notably producing a comeback album for Leon Russell, an idol of Hornsby's. In 1989 Hornsby co-wrote and played piano on Don Henley's big hit "The End of the Innocence". In 1991 Hornsby played piano on Bonnie Raitt's popular hit "I Can't Make You Love Me". Hornsby would feature both of these songs in his own concerts. He also appeared on albums by Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Crosby Stills and Nash, and Squeeze during this time period.

During this era, Hornsby slowly began to slip jazz and bluegrass elements into his music, first in live performance settings and later on studio work. In 1989, he first performed at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He also reworked his hit "The Valley Road" with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band for their album "". The song won at the 1990 Grammy Awards for Best Bluegrass Recording.

"A Night On The Town" was released in 1990, on which he teamed up with jazz musicians Wayne Shorter and Charlie Haden as well as bluegrass pioneer Bela Fleck. A change in style became apparent as the album was much more rock- and guitar-driven, making use of Jerry Garcia's guitar work on a number of tracks, perhaps most prominently on "Across the River".cite web | last=Newsom | first=Jim | title=A Night on the Town: Overview | publisher=All Media Guide, LLC | url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:fifqxq85ldae | accessdate=2007-05-04] In concert, Hornsby and the Range began to stretch out their songs, incorporating more and more "freewheeling musical exchanges." Critics received the album quite well, praising it for its production, its political relevance, and Hornsby's gestures toward expanding out of a strictly pop sound by incorporating jazz and bluegrass. Ultimately, though, the core "rock band" sound of the Range limited Hornsby's aspirations, and after a final three-week tour in 1991, Hornsby disbanded the outfit to enter a new phase of his career. Drummer John Molo continued to perform regularly with Hornsby for another few years, although other members pursued separate musical endeavors. Following Hornsby's and Molo's involvement with The Other Ones, Molo left Hornsby to become the primary drummer with Phil Lesh and Friends.

Years with The Grateful Dead

Bruce Hornsby played piano (and frequently accordion) nightly with the Grateful Dead from September 1990 through March 24, 1992. Hornsby played with the band following the death of Brent Mydland and preceding the acceptance of Vince Welnick as sole keyboardist.

Hornsby's own music evolved significantly during this time period, although his primary performative project remained the Grateful Dead. Critics have suggested that Dead's vibrant tradition of melding folk music and the blues with psychedelic rock in "loose-knit expressions" and extended jamming "further pushed [Hornsby] outside the confines of mainstream pop." Critics have also commented upon the "close musical connection" [cite web | last=Schwartz | first=Greg M. | title=Intersections of Musical Directions: An Interview with Keyboard Great Bruce Hornsby | publisher=PopMatters Media, Inc | date=2006-09-21 | url=http://www.popmatters.com/music/interviews/hornsby-bruce-060921.shtml | accessdate=2007-05-04] formed between Hornsby and Jerry Garcia, suggesting that Hornsby's particular style of jazz-fueled improvisation added to the band's repertoire, [cite journal | last=Silberman | first=Steve | title=Chills in the Hot Seat: An Interview with Bruce Hornsby, 1993 | journal=Dupree's Diamond News | issue=29 | date=1993-10-14 | url=http://www.levity.com/digaland/hornsby93.html | accessdate=2007-05-04 | format=dead link|date=June 2008 – [http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3ASilberman+intitle%3AChills+in+the+Hot+Seat%3A+An+Interview+with+Bruce+Hornsby%2C+1993&as_publication=Dupree%27s+Diamond+News&as_ylo=&as_yhi=&btnG=Search Scholar search] ] and helped to revitalize and refocus Jerry Garcia's guitar solos in the band's sound. Hornsby's friendship with Garcia would continue, both inside and outside the band, as the two would "challenge" each other to expand their musicianship through several other album and live collaborations. Above all, Hornsby's musical versatility and ability to slip in and out of extended freeform jams won over longtime Grateful Dead fans.cite web | last=Barry | first=John W | title=Bruce Hornsby Live Set Puts New Spin On Old Tunes | date=2000-11-07 | url=http://www.vh1.com/artists/news/1224281/20001107/hornsby_bruce.jhtml | accessdate=2007-05-04]

Hornsby originals "The Valley Road" and "Stander on the Mountain" appeared several times in the Dead's setlists. Hornsby also co-performs the improvisation "Silver Apples of the Moon" for the Grateful Dead's "Infrared Roses". His relationship to the Grateful Dead would continue on a less regular basis until the Grateful Dead ended in 1995; in all he made over a hundred concert appearances with them. Beginning in the early 1990s, and continuing to the present, Hornsby's live shows have drawn Deadheads; Hornsby reflects upon this phenomenon as follows: "I've always liked the group of fans that we've drawn from the Grateful Dead time, because those fans are often adventurous music listeners." Hornsby has paid tribute to his time with the Dead by performing a number of their songs during his concerts and by various homages on studio and live albums.

In 1994 the Grateful Dead were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the ninth annual induction dinner. Bruce Hornsby was their presenter. [cite web | title=The Grateful Dead | publisher=The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc | url=http://www.rockhall.com/inductee/the-grateful-dead | accessdate = 2007-05-06] To this day, Hornsby continues to work with Dead-related projects, such as Bob Weir's Ratdog, Mickey Hart's solo projects, and in 2005 participated in a tribute concert to Jerry Garcia, "Comes a Time."

olo years

The solo records

Hornsby would go on to release his first solo album, "Harbor Lights", in 1993. This record showcased Hornsby in a more jazz-oriented setting and featured an all-star lineup, including Pat Metheny, Branford Marsalis, Jerry Garcia, Phil Collins, and Bonnie Raitt. Unlike earlier albums, "Harbor Lights" allowed more space for Hornsby's and guest-players' "extended instrumental" solos to "flow naturally" out of the songs.cite web | last=Miller | first=Skyler | title=Harbor Lights: Overview | publisher=All Media Guide, LLC | url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gvfqxq8gldke | accessdate = 2007-05-04] The tone was set by the opening title track, which after 50 seconds of expansive solo piano lurches into an up-tempo jazz number, ending with Metheny's guitar runs. The album closes in a similar fashion with "Pastures of Plenty", this time with an extended guitar solo from Garcia intertwined with Hornsby's piano. Hornsby also quotes the main musical phrase from the Grateful Dead's "Dark Star" as the jazz head to his song about tensions surrounding a biracial relationship, "Talk of the Town". The mid-tempo "Fields of Gray", written for Hornsby's recently-born twin boys, received some modest radio airplay. "Harbor Lights" was well-received by critics and fans, who praised it for its "cooler, jazzier sound" and its "affinity for sincere portraits of American life, love, and heartache." Hornsby would also secure his third Grammy in 1993 for Best Pop Instrumental for "Barcelona Mona" (composed with Branford Marsalis for the Barcelona Olympics).

In 1995, "Hot House" was released with its cover art, featuring an imagined jam session between bluegrass legend Bill Monroe and jazz legend Charlie Parker, serving as an apt metaphor for the rich fusion of musical styles Hornsby was currently developing and expanding. This album would find Hornsby expanding upon the foray into jazz sound from "Harbor Lights", this time reintroducing elements of bluegrass from "A Night On The Town" and his earlier collaborations. [cite web | last=Miller | first=Skyler | title=Hot House: Overview | publisher=All Media Guide, LLC | url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:f9fwxqthldae | accessdate = 2007-05-04] Much like the socially-conscious lyrics of his earlier work, the underlying messages behind the catchy tunes are often very dark, such as on "Country Doctor", "Hot House Ball" and "White Wheeled Limousine", where story-telling lyrics build around spousal murder, nuclear disaster, and wedding-day adultery, respectively. The album featured many of the same guests as on his previous record, such as Pat Metheny and Jimmy Haslip. Béla Fleck also collaborates again on banjo.

As a testament to Hornsby's willingness to allow songs space to grow and evolve, it is worth noting that the song "White Wheeled Limousine" had debuted five years earlier as an encore to Branford Marsalis's opening act for the Grateful Dead's 12/31/90 New Year's Concert, (Marsalis and Rob Wasserman joined Hornsby in the performance). The "Hot House" version of "White Wheeled Limousine" pairs Pat Metheny's guitar with Béla Fleck's banjo for a blisteringly intricate call-and-response alongside Hornsby's piano runs. "Hot House" also makes an homage to Hornsby's years with the Dead via his recasting of the chorus/bridge of the Dead's song "Estimated Prophet" as the newly-lyricized Hornsby tune "Tango King." The album also boasts a more prominent role for "Harbor Lights" alum John D'earth on trumpet and introduces Bobby Read on woodwinds and J. V. Collier on bass. Read and Collier continue to perform with Hornsby to this date.

During this time period, "even his concerts conveyed a looser, more playful mood, and Hornsby began taking requests from the audience." Hornsby's concerts became "departure points" for his album compositions, which would be blended with and reworked into "lengthy spontaneous medleys". Both in terms of audience requests and in terms of spontaneous on-stage decisions, Hornsby's performances became opportunities for him to challenge himself by trying to "find a way to seamlessly thread these seemingly disparate elements together."

Hornsby next worked with several Grateful Dead reformation projects, including several Furthur Festivals and the ultimate formation of The Other Ones, which resulted in the release a live album, "The Strange Remain". Hornsby's piano and vocals factor heavily into the band's performance of classic Dead tunes "Jack Straw" and "Sugaree" (which features Hornsby on lead vocal, in Jerry Garcia's absence), and Hornsby-originals "White-Wheeled Limousine" and "Rainbow's Cadillac" receive reworkings in the hands of The Other Ones.

Three years after "Hot House", Hornsby released a double album, "Spirit Trail". Featuring a decidedly goofy picture of his uncle on the cover, the collection blends instrumental tracks with the story-telling, rock, jazz, and other musical forms Hornsby had delved into over his career. Over the two discs, Hornsby weaves a tapestry of varied textures, from the fervent spirituality then almost gospel dirge of "Preacher in the Ring, parts I & II," to the catchy chord progressions of "Sad Moon."cite web| last=Bendersky | first=Ari | title=Bruce Hornsby Redefines Himself | publisher=Rolling Stone | url=http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/brucehornsby/articles/story/5919218/bruce_hornsby_redefines_himself | date=1998-10-15 | accessdate = 2007-05-04] Among other homages, the song "Sunflower Cat (Some Dour Cat) (Down With That)" samples and loops the main lick from the Grateful Dead song "China Cat Sunflower." In some of the songwriter's most poignant lyrics to date, "Spirit Trail" considers "very Southern" themes with "songs about race, religion, judgment and tolerance" and "struggles with these issues."

Throughout the sequence of "Harbor Lights", "Hot House", and "Spirit Trail", Hornsby's piano playing steadily gained further complexity, taking on a more varied array of musical styles and incorporating more and more difficult techniques, as evidenced by his two-hand-independence on "Spirit Trail"'s "King of the Hill." During this same span of solo album years, Hornsby made several mini-tours playing solo piano gigs for the first time in his career. These shows allowed Hornsby limitless possibilities for seguing songs into other songs, often blurring lines between classical compositions, jazz standards, traditional bluegrass, folk, and fiddle tunes, Grateful Dead songs, and, of course, reworkings of Hornsby originals. Hornsby reflected on these periods of intensive solo performances stating that these solo tours helped him "recommit [himself] to the study of piano" and "take [his] playing to a whole new level", explorations and improvisations that would not be possible in a band setting.

Hornsby & the Noise Makers

Hornsby's own touring band line up underwent extensive changes during the period from 1998 to 2000 as well, not the least of which was the apparent end of musical collaboration with long time drummer John Molo, who then became former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh's regular drummer in his post-Dead band Phil Lesh & Friends. A set of twenty consecutive shows performed by Hornsby and his band at Yoshi's Jazz Club in Oakland, CA would mark a particularly innovative period of evolution for his live shows; here Hornsby and his band were "able to explore songs in a completely spontaneous fashion".cite journal | last=Metzger | first=John | title=Bruce Hornsby: Here Come the Noisemakers | journal=The Music Box | volume=7 | issue=12 | month=December | year=2000 | url= http://www.musicbox-online.com/bh-noise.html | accessdate = 2007-05-04] As Hornsby experimented with a different sound, ushering in frequent collaborations with such musicians as Steve Kimock on guitar and Bobby Read on heavily effects-driven electronic woodwinds, his current band, dubbed Bruce Hornsby & the Noise Makers, took shape. In 2000, Hornsby chronicled this journey with a compilation live album entitled "Here Come The Noise Makers", and did extensive touring with his new band featuring John "J. T." Thomas (keyboards, organ), Bobby Read (saxophones, woodwinds, flute), J. V. Collier (bass), Doug Derryberry (guitar, mandolin), and several different drummers before Sonny Emory took over full-time.

among them. Hornsby directly acknowledges the influence of the Dead by performing their songs "Lady with a Fan" and "Black Muddy River" and by including a version of "The Valley Road" that seems to have "emerged from the Grateful Dead's "Wharf Rat." His next studio album of new material was not until 2002: "Big Swing Face". This album marked Hornsby's most experimental effort to date; "Big Swing Face", the only album on which Hornsby does not play any piano, relies heavily on post-electronica beats, drum loops, Pro Tools editing, and dense synthesizer arrangements.cite web | last=Erlewine | first=Stephen Thomas | title=Big Swing Face: Overview | publisher=All Media Guide, LLC | url= http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:djftxqw0ldje | accessdate = 2007-05-04] The album also boasts a "stream-of-consciousness wordplay" of lyrics that are in many ways more eccentric and humorous than previous work.cite journal | last=Metzger | first=John | title=Bruce Hornsby: Big Swing Face | journal=The Music Box | volume=9 | issue=8 | month=August | year=2002 | url= http://www.musicbox-online.com/bh-swing.html | accessdate = 2007-05-04] The jazz fusion jam on "Cartoons & Candy" and the gesture towards Hornsby's jam band influence with Steve Kimock's extended guitar solo on "The Chill" highlight some of the album's only familiar territory, and Hornsby cites the opening track, "Sticks and Stones," as his partial homage to Radiohead's "Everything in its right place."cite book|title=Liner notes from "Intersections" Box Set| author = Hornsby, Bruce| year = 2006] "Big Swing Face" met mixed reviews ranging from "a new and improved Bruce Hornsby"cite web | last=Miller | first=Skyler | title=Halcyon Days: Overview | publisher=All Media Guide, LLC | url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:wjfpxqraldhe | accessdate = 2007-05-04] to feeling as if "someone else is singing" to the album being called one of the "strangest records of 2002." Album sales were not helped by poor promotion from RCA, perhaps prompting Hornsby's decision to leave the label.

In 2004, after 19 successful years on RCA Records, Hornsby returned to a more acoustic, piano-driven sound on his Columbia Records debut "Halcyon Days", which reviewers referred to as "pure Hornsby".cite web | last=Wild | first=David | title=Bruce Hornsby: Halcyon Days | publisher=Rolling Stone | date = 2004-09-02 | url= http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/brucehornsby/albums/album/6415110/review/6416461/halcyon_days | accessdate = 2007-05-04] Guests included Sting, Elton John, and Eric Clapton. The tracks "Gonna Be Some Changes Made," "Candy Mountain Run," "Dreamland," and "Circus On The Moon" would become quick concert staples, each showcasing the diversity of Hornsby's improvisations and the Noise Makers' live sound. Notably, "Halcyon Days" also includes a suite of solo piano songs—"What The Hell Happened To Me," "Hooray For Tom," and "Heir Gordon"—which all have a "Randy Newman pastiche." Although the album was markedly less-risk-taking than "Big Swing Face", it would be well-received as a "winning balance of [Hornsby's] tuneful and adventurous sides." Throughout tours following the album's release, both with the Noise Makers and in solo performances, Hornsby continued to demonstrate his desire to "grow" as a singer and performer and to expand the instrumental possibilities of the piano in various genres. During this time period, Hornsby also began to offer CD-sets/digital downloads of digitally-mastered soundboard recordings of live concerts via the "Bruce Hornsby Live" website; selected concerts have been offered from 2002 to the present. In July 2006, Hornsby released a 4 CD/1 DVD box set titled "Intersections (1985-2005)". The discs are thematically broken into three categories: “Top 90 Time,” “Solo Piano, Tribute Records, Country-Bluegrass, Movie Scores,” and “By Request (Favorites and Best Songs)” (2 CDs), with a full third of the music previously unreleased, and the majority of the remaining tracks from single “B” sides and aforementioned collaborations and/or tribute albums and movie soundtracks.cite web | last=Kelman | first=John | title=Bruce Hornsby: Intersections 1985-2005 | publisher=All About Jazz | year=2006 | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/20061103_allaboutjazz_review.swf | format=SWF | accessdate = 2007-05-04] Some noteworthy collaborations include a piano-and-saxophone duet with Ornette Coleman and a performance with Roger Waters of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb."cite web | last=Oksenhorn | first=Stewart | title=Hornsby reworks classics and takes a bluegrass ride: A Review | publisher=The Aspen Times | date=2007-03-09 | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/20070309_aspentimes_review.swf | format=SWF | accessdate = 2007-05-04] The set also offers a number of excellent examples of Hornsby's re-inventiveness with his own compositions, particularly in a live setting, [cite web | last=Tamarkin | first=Jeff | title=Intersections 1985-2005: Overview | publisher=All Media Guide, LLC | url=http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gxfixqqdldse | accessdate = 2007-05-04] for instance three different versions of “The Valley Road” are included--a live "bluesy funk" version with the Noise Makers, a Grammy-winning bluegrass version with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and "a loose and sloppy but totally grooving boogie" take with the Grateful Dead. Critics have said that Hornsby's particular integrations of different musical genres, and his passion for reinventing his own compositions, create a kind of music many might "never hear" otherwise as it is "a kind of music no one else is making." All ticketholders on Hornsby's 2006 Solo Piano tour received a free copy of this set. Among "Intersections (1985-2005)" is the Grammy nominated track "Song H," a new composition which competed for Best Pop Instrumental at the 2007 Grammy Awards. In recent concerts, Hornsby has begun playing classical music. In a 2007 concert in Saint Louis, Missouri, during Hornsby's improvisational session in "The Way It Is", he began playing J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations along with the drums. On that same tour in a different city, he played five straight Goldberg Variations over the effected drum intro of "Gonna Be Some Changes Made".

The Noise Makers

kaggs & Hornsby/The Bruce Hornsby Trio (2007-present)

With the arrival of 2007, Hornsby would see two new musical projects come to fruition with the release of two new albums.

Dating back to a 2000 collaboration on the track "Darlin' Cory" for "Big Mon", a Bill Monroe bluegrass tribute album, Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs had discussed launching a project together.cite journal | last=Metzger | first=John | title=Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby: Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby | journal=The Music Box | volume=14 | issue=4 | month=April | year=2007 | url=http://www.musicbox-online.com/reviews-2007/ricky-skaggs-bruce-hornsby.html | accessdate = 2007-05-04] In March 2007, the duo, backed by Skaggs's band Kentucky Thunder, released the bluegrass album "Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby", and set several tourdates together. Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby combine bluegrass, traditional country, "a tinge of Hornsby's jazzy piano and a splash of humor" on a spectrum of songs from the traditional "Across the Rocky Mountain" and "Hills of Mexico" to new compositions such as the opening track "The Dreaded Spoon," "a humorous tale of a youthful ice cream heist."cite web | title=Music reviews of The Rounders, Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby and Uncle Earl | publisher=The Evansville Courier Co | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/20070323_courierpress_review.swf | format=SWF | accessdate=2007-05-04] The pair also reinvent Hornsby's hit "Mandolin Rain" as a minor key acoustic ballad and "give his cautionary tale of backwoods violence", "A Night On the Town," a treatment highlighting the "Appalachian storytelling tradition that was always at the song's heart." The album ends a surprise cover of Rick James's funk hit "Super Freak" in a bluegrass arrangement. "Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby" would top Billboard's bluegrass charts for several weeks after its release. [cite press release | title=Skaggs and Hornsby on Conan Tonight; NY Times Praises Live Show | publisher=Shore Fire Media | date=2007-04-27 | url=http://www.shorefire.com/index.php?a=pressrelease&o=970 | accessdate=2007-05-07] As Hornsby carves out a newfound place for piano within traditional bluegrass, disproving the notion that the piano is not compatible with "string-oriented" bluegrass, critics have called his playing and songwriting "centered, focused, and inspired."

, among other bookings. [cite web | title=Tour dates | publisher=Bruce Hornsby | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/tour.htm | accessdate=2007-05-04]

During 2007, Hornsby made concert appearances of historical import. On January 4, former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart reunited along with Hornsby, Mike Gordon (of Phish and the Rhythm Devils) and Warren Haynes to play two sets at a post-inauguration fundraising party for Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House in the United States Congress. They were billed as "Your House Band" and performed some Dead classics such as "Truckin'" and "Touch of Grey". Other performers appearing at the event included Tony Bennett, Wyclef Jean and Carole King. [cite web | last=Pryor | first=Tom | title=Dead, Phish, Allmans Members Serve as "House Band" for Pelosi-palooza | publisher=Relix LLC | date=2007-01-05 | url=http://www.relix.com/content/view/2053/112/ | accessdate = 2007-05-04] Additionally, Bruce Hornsby & The Noise Makers hosted an evening of rock, R&B and progressive bluegrass on May 12, 2007, to honor America's beginnings 400 years ago at Jamestown, Virginia. Hornsby was joined by some of his Grammy-winning friends, including legendary funk and R&B artist Chaka Khan and progressive bluegrass master Ricky Skaggs and his band Kentucky Thunder. [cite web | title=Grammy Award Winners Bruce Hornsby, Chaka Khan and Ricky Skaggs Headline America's 400th Anniversary Concert | publisher=SYS-CON Media Inc. | date=2007-03-08 | url=http://www.brucehornsby.com/ink/20070308_marketwire_jamestown.swf | format=SWF | accessdate = 2007-05-04]

Bruce Hornsby has also been writing songs for a Broadway Musical, titled "SCKBSTD". One song from this project, a playful biographical tune about real-estate tycoon Donald Trump titled "The Don of Dons," has made several appearances in setlists during Hornsby's early-2007 solo piano performances.

Outside of music composition and performance, Hornsby has taken an ownership interest in Williamsburg area radio station "The Tide", WTYD 92.3 FM, and he has endowed a scholarship at University of Miami's School of Music, encouraging recipients to study songwriting broadly across traditional genres. Hornsby recently finished shooting scenes for the new Robin Williams movie "World's Greatest Dad", in which Williams' character plays a Bruce Hornsby fan. Hornsby plays himself in a cameo role. He continues to reside with his family outside of Williamsburg, Virginia.

Discography

Bruce Hornsby albums

::with The Range
* "The Way It Is" (1986) #3 US (RIAA: 3xPlatinum)
* "The Way It Is Tour (1986-1987)" (1987) (Japan)
* "Scenes from the Southside" (1988) #5 US (RIAA: Platinum)
* "A Night on the Town" (1990) #20 US::Solo work
* "Harbor Lights" (1993) #46 US
* "Hot House" (1995) #68 US
* "Spirit Trail" (1998) #148 US
* "Piano Jazz, Marian McPartland / Bruce Hornsby" (2005)
* "Intersections (1985-2005)" (2006) US (Legacy Recordings)::with The Noise Makers
* "Here Come The Noise Makers" (2000) #167 US
* "Big Swing Face" (2002)
* "Halcyon Days" (2004) #86 US::with Ricky Skaggs
* "Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby" (2007) US (SonyBMG/Legacy)::with The Bruce Hornsby Trio
* "Camp Meeting" (2007)::Compilations
* "Greatest Radio Hits" (2004)::"Bruce Hornsby Live"
* "Untitled Noise Makers Release" (2009)
* (42 Album Releases)

Albums with associated acts

::with the Grateful Dead
* "Infrared Roses", Grateful Dead, (1991)
* "Dick's Picks Volume 9", Grateful Dead, (1997)
* "So Many Roads (1965-1995)", Grateful Dead, (1999)
* "Dick's Picks Volume 17", Grateful Dead, (2000)
* "View From The Vault, Volume Two", Grateful Dead, (2001), also released as DVD
* "Grateful Dead Download Series Volume 11", Grateful Dead, (2006)::with The Other Ones
* "The Strange Remain", The Other Ones, (1999)::Grateful Dead-related Album Contributions
* "", Various Artists, (1991)
* "Grayfolded : Transitive Axis", Grateful Dead / John Oswald, (1994)
* "Grayfolded : Mirror Ashes", Grateful Dead / John Oswald, (1995)
* "The Concert For The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame", Various Artists, (1996)
* "Mystery Box", Mickey Hart, (1996)
* "Furthur", Various Artists, (1997)
* "Furthur More", Various Artists, (1997)
* "Grayfolded", Grateful Dead / John Oswald, (1996)
* "Furthur Most", Various Artists, (2000)
* "Over The Edge And Back", Mickey Hart, (2002)
* "Gilford, NH, September 2, 2005", Ratdog, (2005)
* "Atlantic City, NJ, September 4, 2005", Ratdog, (2005)
* "Pure Jerry: Hampton, Virginia, November 9, 1991", Jerry Garcia Band, (2006)

References

External links

* [http://www.brucehornsby.com/ Bruce Hornsby Official Web Site] .
* [http://www.myspace.com/brucehornsby Bruce Hornsby MySpace Web Site] .
* [http://www.bruuuce.com/ Bruuuce.com -- Bruce Hornsby Fan Web Site] .
* [http://www.bruuuce.com/cgi-bin/brucebase/setlists.shtml BruceBase: Bruce Hornsby Setlists] .
* [http://www.brucehornsbylive.com/ Bruce Hornsby Live Concert Releases] .

Persondata
NAME= Hornsby, Bruce
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American singer, pianist, and songwriter
DATE OF BIRTH= 1954-11-23
PLACE OF BIRTH= Williamsburg, Virginia, U.S.
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=


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